I had the great pleasure of becoming friends with Ryan while we were both grad students at Northwestern University. You can hear us both on the Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble album, Rising. Ryan sounds like a beast on the trumpet solo in Copeland’s Outdoor Overture.
In addition to leading the brass section of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and working like a demon to become the worlds strongest trumpet player, Ryan has created a podcast that is an incredible resource for all musicians. He interviews gurus, digs deep into the processes of recent audition winners, and examines the many ways to build a freelance career.
From Ryan’s Blog:
This installment of “Freeway Philharmonic” features Will Baker. Will is the bass trombonist of the Monterey Symphony. In addition to that, Will is a frequent substitute musician with orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, and more. Also, Will has started his own project called Get Fluent, which he has used social media to help promote for the past year.
Will drops a ton of great information in this episode. Here are some of the things that really stood out to me:
You can learn from everyone
In this episode, Will talks about his mindset when playing for other people, especially people that might be able to get you work as a freelancer. His attitude is that he feels he can learn from everyone, so he approaches it as if it were a lesson. Some of things he learned from those lessons not only helped him get established in an area, but also taught him things as player that really helped him continue improving.
Focus on quality
As a content creator, you are always wondering if people will see your work and enjoy it. Will attitude is “Focus on consistency and quality, your audience will find you”. This is such a helpful attitude to have, as it allows you to focus on things that you are able to control, and let go of things that you can’t.
Invest yourself in those around you
Getting to know the people that he works with as a freelancer has not only allowed Will to make meaningful connections with those coworkers, but it also has made his time as a substitute musician more enjoyable. Aiming to be a positive influence in the lives of those around him is a goal for him, as he feels it makes the environment better for everyone involved.
Invest in yourself
Towards the end of the episode, Will mentions that if you are a freelancer, but you do not have a great deal of work lined up, you can still work to improve yourself. Investing in yourself by reading about time management, marketing and publicity, or any books that challenge you to grow mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually can fill up your time while you aren’t playing as much as you might want to. This way, you can continue to find ways to connect to your audience, whether it is on stage, or elsewhere!
Here’s a Spotify playlist of music that Will enjoys listening to!
Until next time,